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  • Writer's pictureNoel Daganta

How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot By Los Angeles Photographer Noel Daganta

Updated: Apr 25, 2018

As a photographer here in Los Angeles for more than 10 years, I have been fortunate to shoot some of the best models in the world from different countries. However, a vast majority of my models are novice and first-times who just want photos for personal usage. Photo shoots can be very daunting to many since it puts you on the spot. You feel vulnerable and powerless. That is, if you don't prepare enough physically and mentally.

Below I compiled a list of preparations one can have prior to be in front of the camera whether you're a model or you're just someone doing a shoot for personal reasons. Of course every photo shoot is different. The list below is just a general guidelines for both male and female shooting for fitness, fashion, commercial, headshots or other photographic genre.

1. Get your body physically ready for the shoot. Look your best if it's fitness shoot and try to peak during your shoot. If you're shooting fashion and a hired model, make sure you fit the clothes that are required by the employer. Get enough sleep prior to the shoot. Get your hair color done, manicure, hair removal etc. in advance if you need to.

2. Get mentally prepared. My kind of photography is very commercial. It requires a lot of personality. Half of the success of the images comes from the model. No matter how great the photographer is, the model still has to do the projecting on the camera. Being comfortable in front of the camera is invaluable. The model I remember the most are not the prettiest but the most comfortable and has great personality in front of the camera.

3. Practice your poses in front of the mirror. Photo shoot is not the time to learn them. You or somebody else is paying for that time. See what poses look good on you. Know your angles, body or face wise. How you normally take a selfie is a good start on discovering what looks good on you. Do your research on poses, maybe through magazines, online or even my website . Practicing your poses will not only make your poses natural and organic, it will also help you more confident in front of the camera since you have done your homework.

4. Bring outfits that you love. If you bring outfits that you love, you will feel beautiful when you wear them and it will show on the images. I prefer solid colors since they don't take away from the model. However it really depends on the shoot. For headshots, stick with solid colors. Preferably not white, black or crazy designs since they take away from your face. As a general rule, bring outfits that go along with what you want to accomplish. Corporate headshot requires corporate outfits, fitness shots requires fitness wear, etc. MAKE SURE THEY ARE LINT FREE AND NOT WRINKLED.

5. Tan if you need to. If you're doing spray tan, it needs to be done prior the day of the shoot. Many shoots do not need tanning such as high fashion, headshots and portraits. For fitness, it's best to tan since it shows more body definition. Do not tan way before the shoot since it will go bad and your skin will look uneven or orange.

6. Make up or grooming. If you have to do make up prior to the shoot, make sure you show up with no make up at all so that the make up artist won't have to get rid of them and start all over. For women, I always recommend professional make up. You don't do photo shoots every day, make it the best possible by having the right make up. I see a lot of models who try to do their own and in the end I feel it's a missed opportunity to really see the best that they can look.

7. If it's a personal shoot, bring ideas or images that you like that could be an inspiration to some of the images you that you want. Of course ask the photographer if that's something workable given the parameters of the shoot.

8. Prior to the shoot, try not to wear sunglasses or tight outfits that will cause creases on your body specially for fitness shoots.

9. If you're shooting outside where it can be windy such as the beach, don't put too much hairspray on your hair. When the wind messes it up, it's hard to fix them. Bring hair accessories and hair brush. Always bring hair ties in all your shoots. As a last resort, you can always tie your hair.

10. Feel beautiful and confident. How you feel inside will manifest in the outside. No matter how good looking someone is if that person is insecure, it will show and people who see the images can see that. Second guessing yourself makes you less attractive. Cliche as it is, confidence is more important than being beautiful even photos.

Photo shoots should be fun and amazing experience and not stressful and tiring. Enjoy it. As a photographer, I always believe that the experience is just as important as the images from it.

Noel Daganta

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